Exocast-56b: Interview with Mark McCaughrean about JWST

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In this episode the Exocast gang chat with Dr Mark McCaughrean, who is a Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration at the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as a James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Science Working Group Interdisciplinary Scientist, about the recent launch, deployment and commissioning of JWST. Mark shares scientific and personal highlights of his long involvement with the telescope, his experience of JWST’s launch from French Guiana on Christmas Day 2021, and insights regarding the revolutionary exoplanet science that the platform will enable. We also take some time to discuss ESA’s other exoplanet-centric missions (GAIA, ARIEL, PLATO, CHEOPS) as well as the differences and similarities between NASA and ESA operations, their ongoing partnerships, and synergies. In lieu of an adopted planet, Mark shares his thoughts on what may be the most exciting JWST-enabled astrophysical discoveries of the next decade(s).

Mark is also the co-founder of Space Rocks, a fantastic initiative to bring science, music, and culture together in a celebration of space and exploration. Hannah stopped by to continue the conversation about JWST with Mark and others on a recent episode of Space Rocks’ webcast series ‘Uplink‘.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @markmccaughrean

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